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PBB All In’s Nude Challenge and the MTRCB Summons

Yup! It was bound to happen. The MTRCB has summoned the producers of the ABS-CBN reality show PBB All In to explain the nude challenge after a complaint was filed by one women’s rights group.

For the benefit of those who do not really watch the show, the nude challenge was part of a game that Big Brother had arranged for all the housemates. The housemates were given a series of challenges which they could accept or refuse.

There was a catch, of course; as there is always wont to be inside the PBB House.

The housemates were collectively allowed to refuse only three times. At the fourth refusal by any of the housemates, they lose the game and with it, the budget for the next week’s food allotment.

The first challenge was innocuous. Several of the housemates were asked if they were willing to get an artificial tan; and for accepting they were sprayed with a solution to temporarily darken their skin.

Nudity was always going to be controversial whatever the context, and especially since PBB All In has an afternoon highlights show called Uber. The producers of the show really should have known better with the nude challenge.
Another challenge was probably just as innocuous, if not for the squeamish. The housemates were offered breakfast choices consisting of exotic food: fried frog, silk worms and crickets, among others.

But the most intense challenge was issued to Jayme Jalandoni of Parañaque, who was asked if she was willing to pose nude for an alleged painter from the outside who needed a model.

Moreover, she was asked to draft in three other housemates who were willing to be painted nude. To make the challenge more difficult, each housemate was to be painted nude in the company of the others. At least, that was how I understood the challenge.

So Jayme brought in actor/model Daniel Matsunaga, former DLSU volleyball star Michelle Gumabao and Ranty Portento of Quezon.

The four were given time to talk the challenge over. Jayme’s dilemma primarily stemmed from her Christian upbringing and her desire not to displease her parents.

Surprisingly, next to her, Daniel was the most vehemently against the idea of posing nude, claiming that he had done so at the age of 16 and lived to regret it.

Ranty was quicker to rationalise the challenge, saying that it was really more a matter of trusting Big Brother not to subject them to anything that would compromise not only their beliefs but also their reputations.

Not surprisingly, the most severely affected by the challenge were the two women, even if Michelle had likewise rationalised the challenge in a conversation with Jayme as shown in the 24/7 stream.

“They discreetly keep out the shower scenes,” she reasoned, “so in most likelihood they will not do anything compromising to us.” Yet, in the confession room when asked about her decision, Michelle cried as much like a baby as Jayme had.

The women’s group that filed the complaint against the challenge, in my opinion, got it all wrong. The challenge was not degrading to women.

It was just degrading, period. And cruel.

Producers of the show will probably argue that there was never a nude painter in the first place. In fact, all of the four had initially albeit reluctantly agreed to pose nude.

However, a voice recording of Jayme’s father was played for her to hear; after which she changed her mind and said no. Consequently, so did the others.

Therefore, the challenge was being manipulated so that the ultimate decision was always going to be a no. The challenge was actually less about posing nude and more about decision-making.

While the purpose of the challenge had its merits, the same thing could have been achieved without stepping on people’s sensitivities.

As far as I am concerned, what made the challenge cruel was the choice of Jayme as subject. Those who watch the show know that, among the housemates, she is the one with the ‘di makabasag pinggan’ personality. She is soft-spoken, pleasant and has stayed away from cliques and controversies inside the PBB House.

Ces Visitacion or Aina Solano, both stronger personalities, would have handled the challenge better.

In can be argued that it was for her personality that Jayme was chosen. On the other hand, decision-making dilemmas are dime-a-dozen and are, in fact, standard fare for high school recollections.

Nudity was always going to be controversial whatever the context, and especially since PBB All In has an afternoon highlights show called Uber. The producers of the show really should have known better with the nude challenge.

It was cruel not just to the women.

Acknowledgment: Top photo from http://entertainment.abs-cbn.com/tv/shows/pbb/housemates

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